Thursday, 12 April 2012

Get a Higher Page Rank by Blogging

Get a Higher Page Rank by Blogging

Most people who are experienced with search engine optimization would know the basic procedure on how to attain a higher Google Page Rank for a website. With most SEO strategies, one can be sure about an increase of about two or three ranks within three months or so, but it doesn't hurt to gun for more. While SEO is quite simple as long as there is intelligent effort, some SEO services cost money. That is money that could be used elsewhere, so one must look for a better alternative before spending actual money for a higher Page Rank.

Contextual link building is one the most effective SEO strategies available. While you can go on and email people about exchanging links with you, there is actually a better way to gain affiliates to your website. One of these good link building ideas that can be utilized to maximize growth is blogging.

Blog About Products and Services

Blogging can be a sort of regularly-updating advertisement for your online business. It provides news and updates on your products and services to interested parties. By blogging your day-to-day business activities, potential customers can be certain that they can get them whenever and however they can be made available. Make sure that your blog has RSS so that visitors can subscribe and get regular updates to your blog.

Integrate Your Blog with Your Main Site

If your blog is one with your main website, you can have an easier time in increasing Page Rank as it is quite easy to do so with a blog. Within the first three months, it is entirely possible to gain a Page Rank of 3, so if your main website is integrated to your blog, it can share that Page Rank. By utilizing good SEO procedures, it can be easy.

Post Relevant Content Regularly

Regular updates increase the chances of getting a higher Page Rank as Google pings your site every once in a while. This is absolutely helpful if your blog is integrated to your site, so keep the previous tip in mind. By giving visitors the appropriate information, they will be enticed to revisit your site for reference and other such purposes.

Write Blog Reviews of Other Related Sites

By writing positive reviews and critique of other related sites in your blog, you are giving those sites incentive to support and link your site back. This type of advertisement is a powerful method of link building that can dramatically increase your chances in attaining a higher Page Rank within the shortest amount of time possible.

Combine Blogging with Other SEO Strategies

Blogging alone can give your site more traffic and such by a certain degree, but it alone is not powerful enough. Combine it with other tested search engine optimization methods to get the best effect. Such things like link building, keyword density, meta tagging, submitting sitemaps, and so on can multiply the effect that blogging can give you. If you had integrated your main site with your blog, then it will increase your chances even more.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Top 10 Reasons to Start a Blog

Top 10 Reasons to Start a Blog

Blogging is becoming more and more popular everyday. Should you join the blogosphere? Take a look at this list to help you make your decision about blogging.

1. To Express Your Thoughts and Opinions
You have something to say, and blogs provide a place to say it and be heard.

2. To Market or Promote SomethingBlogging is a great way to help market or promote yourself or your business, product or service.

3. To Help People

Many blogs are written to help people who may be going through similar situations that the blogger has experienced. Many parenting and health-related blogs are written for this purpose.

4. To Establish Yourself as an Expert

Blogs are wonderful tools to help bloggers establish themselves as experts in a field or topic. For example, if you're trying to get a job in a specific field or hoping to publish a book on a specific topic, blogging can help legitimize your expertise and expand your online presence and platform.

5. To Connect with People Like You

Blogging brings like-minded people together. Starting a blog can help you find those people and share your opinions and thoughts.

6. To Make a Difference

Many blogs are issue-based meaning the blogger is trying to provide information to sway people's thinking in a certain direction. Many political blogs and social issues blogs are written by bloggers who are trying to make a difference in their own ways.

7. To Stay Active or Knowledgeable in a Field or Topic

Since successful blogging is partially dependent on posting frequency and providing updated, fresh information, it's a perfect way to help a blogger stay abreast of the events in a specific field or topic.

8. To Stay Connected with Friends and Family

The world has shrunk since the Internet has become more accessible. Blogs provide a simple way for family and friends to stay connected from different parts of the world by sharing stories, photos, videos and more.

9. To Make Money

It's important to point out that most bloggers don't make a lot of money blogging, but the potential does exist to generate revenue from your blog with hard work and commitment. There are many bloggers who bring in big bucks. With patience and practice, you can make money through advertising and other income-generating activities on your blog.

10. To Have Fun and Be Creative

Many people start a blog simply for fun. Perhaps a blogger is a fan of a particular actor or loves knitting and wants to share that passion through a blog. One of the most important keys to successful blogging is having a passion about your blog's topic, so you can write prolifically about it. Some of the best and most interesting blogs started out as blogs that were written just for fun and to give the blogger a creative outlet.

Essential Requirements to Starting a Successful Blog

Essential Requirements to Starting a Successful Blog

Passion for Your SubjectAs a blogger, you have to write about your blog's subject a lot. The writing is nonstop. If you don't love your blog's topic, it will show. Readers can detect when a blogger is just going through the motions rather than speaking from the heart.


Successful blogging requires a massive amount of sweat equity and dedication. Building a successful blog requires more than just publishing a new post a few times a week. The most successful blogs are updated frequently (often several times each day), and the bloggers behind those blogs work relentlessly to promote their blogs and drive traffic to them.


Building a successful blog requires a massive time investment. Growing a blog doesn't stop with publishing posts. Top bloggers spend a lot of time everyday promoting their blogs, researching and reading to drive traffic to it.

A Desire to Network

Socializing is a critical component of developing a successful blog. Blogging by nature is a social medium, and successful blogs become so primarily because of the strong sense of community surrounding them. Top bloggers take time to respond to comments and interact with their blogs' readers as well as network on social sites, forums and more all in an effort to further promote their blogs.

A Desire to Keep Learning

The blogosphere is ever-changing, which means top bloggers are always looking for new ways to enhance their blogs by persistently researching anything and everything related to blogging.

A Love of Research and Reading

Successful bloggers read a lot in order to stay updated on their blogs' topics and the blogosphere as a whole.


A successful blog is typically updated very frequently. That means successful blogs always provide fresh, unique content to their readers. Writing that new content requires a great deal of creativity to keep readers from feeling bored or from feeling like the blog does not bring them any value.


Blogging success does not happen overnight. Be prepared to stay dedicated to promoting your blog for the long haul. Eventually, your hard work should pay off with increased traffic and a significant growth in popularity of your blog. The key is to not give up.

10 Steps To Develop Killer Blog Articles

10 Steps To Develop Killer Blog Articles

This is a guest post by Nicholas Z. Cardot. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
Since I’ve started blogging I’ve had a few people ask me about my writing process so I’ve decided to share it with you today.
This development process is pretty much the same exact steps that I’ve taken on every single post on Site Sketch 101. I’m going to take you from the concept development phase all the way to hitting the publish button.
Honestly, I usually have about five or six different articles that I am putting through this process at the same time. For some people that might not work, but for me it allows me to save time.
Sometime I get in the mood to develop topics so I create five or six ideas. Other days I want to go through my topics and create their key points so I list the main points for those five or six articles. Working through several articles at a time allows me to rapidly develop quality content for each day of the coming week.

1. Develop a topic

As soon as an idea comes to me I write it down before I forget it. I hate it when I think of something that I want to write about when I’m in the shower because it seems that half the time I forget the details of it by the time I get out and get dried off. So if your not in the shower when you think of your topic right it down right away.

2. List the main points

At the moment that I write a topic down on a piece of paper and type it into my computer, I begin developing the main points. If it is going to be a list post I begin by writing down as many items as I can think of. If it is going to be an essay style post then I try to think of about three to five main concepts that can be discussed.
The key here is to let the topic determine the number of points. You want to come up with enough ideas to provide a comprehensive look at your subject without creating overkill.

3. Develop an exciting introduction

Once I’ve determined the main concepts that I plan on discussing in an article I have effectively established the direction the article is going to go. This allows me to create an opening paragraph or two. The goal here is to sell the article. While creating the introduction you should have a sentence or two that describes what the entire article is going to develop into. I often create a sentence like this and also end up using it for the meta description.
First impressions are lasting impressions. If you can’t pull the reader in during the first paragraph or two then you are probably not going to get them to read the whole article.
It’s important that your first paragraph be powerful so that you can make a strong first impression and draw the readers in.

4. Expand each point to a couple of paragraphs

After I have an introduction paragraph and a list of points that I plan on using then I move on to developing each point. First I add a line after the heading for that point. I usually then convert that actual point to an h3 tag which displays the orange titles above every few paragraphs in most of my articles.
I then move to that line that I created after the subheading and begin typing. You don’t even have to start on your first point. Pick out whichever point you feel is the most important. Sometimes I choose point 3 or 4 and sometimes I go in order. There’s no rule at this point. Just work through until you have a paragraph or two that describes each of your key concepts.
At this point just write what comes to you. Don’t focus on spelling or grammar. Just take your thoughts and ideas and get them into the post.

5. Illustrate Your Article

After the bulk of the article is written up I head over to and begin searching for images that I can use to illustrate my article. I click the ‘advanced search’ button and opt to only search through the images with a creative commons license that allows me to copy and modify the work.
Make it your goal to select a picture that is beautiful and on topic. If you are writing an article about horses then don’t show a picture of a starfish. Try to find something that will correlate with your article’s title.
I always position my image at the top of the article so that it can be seen while reading the headline. I want to draw people in with my headline, my first paragraph and my picture. These are three highly important areas to draw people into your article.

6. Revise the post

If your blogging software has a preview feature that allows you to view the article in your blog’s theme as it will be seen by your audience then I highly recommend that you use it for this step. This is also why I illustrate it before I revise it. I want to be able to look at it in every way seeing it as my readers will see it.
It’s important now to read through your post from beginning to end. Remember before when I said that you didn’t have to develop each point in order. During this step you should be checking to make sure that each step logically follows from the point before it. If it doesn’t then tweak it up a little bit until it does.
You should also be looking for spelling and grammar errors. There is nothing more irritating to an educated reader than to read an article from someone who writes as if they are illiterate.
It is also during this revision that I look for places to add dynamic adjectives. I look for places where I can spice things up just a little bit or make sentences sound just a little bit more exciting.

7. Optimize and Intensify the Headline

Check out my post 10 Tips to Awesome, Eye-Jerking Post Titles for more information on how to effectively market your article by developing an intense, creative title for it.
Here’s how Darren Rowse from problogger puts it, “Many bloggers pour a lot of effort into writing engaging and interesting posts, but then just slap any old title onto it without realizing that in doing so they might be ensuring that their post is never read.”

8. Create Meta Data and Tags

If you are using WordPress or a blogging platform with tagging enabled then create between 8 and 10 tags that directly describe your article. Use those same tags as your meta keywords. I have Site Sketch 101 setup to do that automatically. Whatever I put into the tags automatically goes into the keywords. I manually create tags and they then automatically become keywords.
I experimented with some automated keyword generators and decided that they are generally useless. These plugins would scan the article and attempt to automatically create tags based on the content. Usually they would pick words that really were not important to the topic so I quickly got rid of those and I now take the time to develop my own tags.
Also be sure to create a meta description for your article. If you were really good you would be able to find a sentence in one of the first three paragraphs that would work for you. You want this description to be more than 100 characters long and less than 160 characters long.

9. Revise the Post…Again

Go over your work one more time. Make sure that your thoughts and concepts flow smoothly between points. Make sure everything is spelled correctly and that you don’t have it laden with poor grammar.
I always assign a future date to most posts before I hit the publish button. I use future dates because I want to have a couple of days to read it over and revise it again if necessary. The more you go over it the better it will likely be.

10. Publish

Push the publish button. This one is was easy.
Find a way to take this process and make it work for you. If you need to mix up the order of a step to help you think and be creative then go for it. Do whatever it takes to get your creative juices flowing.
Nicholas Z. Cardot is the creator and author of Site Sketch 101 where he publishes daily articles for bloggers and webmasters.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Do We Really Need to Optimize Our Sites for Mobile Phones?

Do We Really Need to Optimize Our Sites for Mobile Phones?

If you have a website or blog, you probably already heard about the importance of optimizing it for mobile phones, creating a specific version for the iPhone and so on.
I won’t challenge the fact that mobile devices are more popular than ever, and that as we go forward more and more people will be using them to get online.

What I am not sure is if webmasters really need to worry about that trend when creating and managing their websites.

One possible scenario: within five years or so, when the number of users accessing your website via a mobile device will be big enough to matter, those devices will no longer need a special version of your website anyway.

If you think about it, the iPhone and similar smart phones are closing the gap from mobile phones to computers. You can already visit most websites with those devices without needing to load a special version of the site. The software is definitely there, and the hardware is arriving.
Maybe within five years most mobile devices will be able to load websites just like your desktop computer does today. If that is the case, webmasters will be able to keep focusing on building usable and accessible websites, and that is it. There will be no need to create special mobile versions because mobile devices will behave just like any other computer.
What do you think?

Your Calls to Action Should Go Below The Post

Your Calls to Action Should Go Below The Post

There are many WordPress plugins around that will insert a call to action on the top of your posts. Some people even do this manually. Lately I was visiting some blogs that use this strategy, and I realized that perhaps it is not that effective, and sometimes they might even hurt the user experience.
Before proceeding let me clarify what I am talking about. The What Would Seth Godin Do plugin is a good example. Once you upload and activate it, whenever a new visitor comes to your website, he will be presented with a message on top of your page that will say something on the lines of:
Welcome! to My Blog!, it seems that you are new to this site. If you want to get regular updates you can signup to get email alerts or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Sociable is another similar plugin. It will basically identify if the visitor is coming from a specific social networking site, and it will present a tailored message to him. So if someone comes to your page from Stumble Upon, it will show him a message like this one:
Hello fellow StumbleUpon, if you like this page, don’t forget to give it a thumbs up! You can also see my StumbleUpon profile here.
You get the idea.
So why do I think the strategy of using those plugins and calls to action on top of your pages and posts is not efficient, and perhaps even a bad idea? Because their positioning is completely wrong. They should be placed at the bottom of your posts and not on top of them!
Let me illustrate my argument with a real example.

Suppose I am browsing on Digg when I suddenly come across a story that grabs my attention: 11 Ways to Send Emails in the Future. (Notice I am using Techie-Buzz as example only because Keith uses both plugins I mentioned there. The blog itself is very good and has excellent content).
The title of the story sounds interesting and I decide to click and see what it is all about. Once I click there, however, I will be presented with the following page:

As you can see, right below the title there is an AdSense unit (1). I am not against having ads, but you need to consider that this large rectangle is already taking space and making it harder for me to find the actual content I was looking for.
Then after the AdSense unit you have the message from the What Would Seth Godin Go plugin (2). It is inviting me to subscribe to the blog or to check out the about page. Hmmm… I just arrived here from Digg, and all I want is to check the content I was looking for. I am not sure if I want to subscribe to the blog yet.
I move on, and then I find yet another message that distracts me from the content itself (3). This one is coming from the Sociable plugin, and it is encouraging me to Digg the story. But hey! I haven’t even had the opportunity to read it yet, how could I digg it without knowing what the story is about?
As you can see, those calls to action are ineffective and even counter-productive if positioned on top of the posts. Sure it is a good idea to encourage visitors to subscribe to your RSS feed and to vote for your stories on social bookmarking sites, but you must make sure that this call to action will appear to the user when he has the right mindset on, and that is after he is done reading your content.
As a rule of thumb, I try to put as few content as possible between my headlines and my posts (in fact I don’t even put the author name or date there). This is to ensure that there will be no distractions from the moment I grab the attention of the visitor with a headline until the moment he actually starts reading the content.
If you put too many things between those two stages, you might lose a fraction of the visitors right there.
Those are my opinions obviously, and I would love to hear what you guys think about the issue.

Add an Email Subscription Form Below Your Posts

Add an Email Subscription Form Below Your Posts

I believe I was one of the first people to recommend displaying an RSS icon below single posts, and now pretty much all blogs do that.

It is a logical thing after all. Often times visitors will come to your site via search engines or via referral links, and they will just read the article they are looking for and move on (probably missing the RSS icons you have on the header or on top of the sidebar). If you place a message at the bottom of each post, encouraging visitors to subscribe, you might capture their attention and convince them to grab your feed.
What about email subscription forms though? Could they work as efficiently on the bottom of single posts? I had a feeling that they could, and I decided to test it out on my blogs. The results were pretty amazing.

The Numbers Without the Form

The first thing I did was to write down the numbers that Feedburner provides. I basically tracked the number of email subscribers on my three blogs, for four consecutive Mondays (four weeks were used because that was the longest period that I could obtain the breakdown for email subscribers).
  • Monday of July 07 = 109 email subscribers
  • Monday of July 14 = 112 email subscribers (+3)
  • Monday of July 21 = 112 email subscribers (+0)
  • Monday of July 28 = 114 email subscribers (+1)
As you can see the average weekly increase of email subscriber was 1,3.
  • Monday of July 07 = 932 email subscribers
  • Monday of July 14 = 950 email subscribers (+18)
  • Monday of July 21 = 966 email subscribers (+16)
  • Monday of July 28 = 979 email subscribers (+13)
On this second case the average weekly gain of email subscribers was 15,6.
  • Monday of July 07 = 4986 email subscribers
  • Monday of July 14 = 5040 email subscribers (+54)
  • Monday of July 21 = 5129 email subscribers (+89)
  • Monday of July 28 = 5153 email subscribers (+24)
For the third blog the average weekly gain of email subscribers was 55,6.

The Numbers With the Subscription Form

After writing those numbers down I inserted a simple email subscription below every single post. I also included a small message explaining to the visitor that they could subscribe for free, and that we would keep sending related tips to their email inbox. You can see the form live below this post as well. Here is how the numbers behaved on the following weeks.
  • Monday of July 28 = 114 email subscribers
  • Monday of August 11 = 119 email subscribers (+5)
  • Monday of August 18 = 122 email subscribers (+3)
  • Monday of August 25 = 125 email subscribers (+3)
The previous average gain was 1,3, and after I inserted the form it jumped to 3,6.
  • Monday of July 28 = 979 email subscribers
  • Monday of August 11 = 1025 email subscribers (+46)
  • Monday of August 18 = 1050 email subscribers (+25)
  • Monday of August 25 = 1084 email subscribers (+34)
Without the form this blog was getting, on average, 15,6 new email subscribers every week. After I inserted the form the number more than doubled to 35.
  • Monday of July 28 = 5153 email subscribers
  • Monday of August 11 = 5245 email subscribers (+92)
  • Monday of August 18 = 5310 email subscribers (+65)
  • Monday of August 25 = 5373 email subscribers (+83)
On the third case I noticed a big jump as well. The previous average was 55,6, and after the insertion of the subscription form it jumped to 80.


I think the results are pretty clear. By simply adding an email subscription form below each of your posts you could reap many more email subscribers. Consider Daily Blog Tips for example. Without the form, in 6 months, I would have 374 new email subscribers. Using the form, however, this number would jump to 840 subscribers.
Obviously the effectiveness of this technique will depend on a couple of factors. Tech oriented websites might see smaller results, while blogs with a more varied audience will see better results because those visitors are more likely to subscribe via email (as opposed to RSS feeds).
The styling the overall layout might have an impact also. If the bottom of your articles is cluttered with all kinds of badges, links, social bookmarking icons and the like, the email form might get lost among those and not be effective. If you have a clear design, however, it will be easier to make visitors notice.
Regardless of those variations, I think it is definitely worth a try.